James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 8.03'
Flow: 17300 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 2:00am
Low Tide: 9:00am

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XTERRA ‘party zone’ expanding into Forest Hill Park

Andy Thompson

June 13, 2015 3:07pm
The madness on Buttermilk Trail last year as fans wait for riders to come by.

The madness on Buttermilk Trail last year as fans watch riders go by.

If you’ve followed XTERRA’s history in Richmond, you know that in the past few years a raucous party zone has popped up on Buttermilk Trail along the mountain bike course of the off-road triathlon. As you can tell from the pictures here, this isn’t just any party zone. Every year it seems like, more crazies come out of the woodwork to cheer on, and sometimes heckle, the riders as they pass that narrow section of trail.

Well, I guess the demand for that space is now such that another party zone is planned for the bike course at tomorrow’s XTERRA East Coast Championship race. I got a text from one of those crazies today saying that a large group had tested out a new location during last month’s Urban Assault MTB race. They went to Forest Hill Park, where the trail crosses Reedy Creek just below Patrick Henry Elementary School and across the street from Crossroads Coffee. It’s a tricky crossing, and the rocks will be wet, which should mean more than a few crashes.

“We’re taking it up a notch this year,” he said.


The creek crossing in Forest Hill Park where fans will set up a second party zone. A wooden bridge near this spot was washed out by a storm last year. Credit: Alex Modestou

What that means, exactly, I’m not sure. But if you’re in the market for a Sunday morning spectacle tomorrow, head to either the Buttermilk Trail (below Riverside and Southcliff roads) or the Forest Hill Park Trail where it crosses Reedy Creek. The races start at 8 a.m. You won’t be disappointed.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?